Driftless Wisconsin awarded tourism promotion grant

left to right: Michele Williams, board member; Eric Frydenlund, Administrator; board members Karya Eitland, Greg Cerven, Therese Bergholz, Denise Benoit, Karen Solverson; and Andrew Nussbaum, Regional Tourism Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Driftless Wisconsin, a tourism promotion organization representing Crawford County, Vernon County, and the Kickapoo Valley, was awarded a $7,841 JEM (Joint Effort Marketing) Grant for 2022 by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The funds were used to leverage a $31,000 advertising campaign inviting visitors to “Come Out and Play!” in the heart of the Driftless area.

The campaign utilizes print, social media, internet, videographic, photographic, and radio advertising to promote the area as an “outdoor recreation playground.” The “Come Out and Play” theme has resonated with visitors over the last two years – first looking to escape the congestion of large cities during the covid-19 epidemic, and now searching for a destination within a tank-full of gas during high gas prices. The campaign directs visitors to a website landing page highlighting the region’s outdoor activities that includes six itineraries designed to drive visitors to the “doorstep” of small businesses in the area.

The promotion will run through the end of the year, but preliminary numbers show excellent results. Website visits are up 15% over last summer, now tracking for 111,000 annual visits. The “Come Out and Play!” landing page received 10,080 visits alone, up 42% from 2021. The video ads received 70,253 views on YouTube, while the digital Newsletter achieved a 60% open rate.

“We’re really pleased with results,” said Eric Frydenlund, Driftless Wisconsin Administrator. “Last year’s campaign achieved a 1400% return on investment and we’re hoping for similar results this year. More visitors are getting to our website to learn about the area and plan their vacation and also to order a Driftless Wisconsin Map. I would like to thank all our advertisers, sponsors, communities, and both county governments for their financial support in underwriting this grant application.”

Driftless Wisconsin was formed in 2008 as a collaboration of the Crawford County Tourism Council, Vernon County Tourism Council, and the Kickapoo Valley Association. For more information about Driftless Wisconsin or the JEM Grant campaign, contact Administrator Eric Frydenlund at 608-326-6658 or email Admin@DriftlessWisconsin.com.